Sunny Suisse: Seeing the bears of Bern

I chose Bern (a/k/a Berne) as my first stop on a whirl through Switzerland based on the description provided by UNESCO regarding its old city. I was looking forward to seeing the shopping arcades and fountains from prior centuries. I had no idea just how obsessed they were with bears. Turns out that the coat of arms prominently features a bear. The local cathedral has bears carved on the façade. Oh, and they keep a park on the eastern end of town where there are bears roaming about for the tourists to ogle. Just one of many surprises I’d discover as I wandered about the relatively compact Capital city.


The city lived up to its billing as well organized, with old shopping arcades and fountains. Alas, I found the “historical” aspect of the arcades to be rather lost; something to do with how the shops were pretty much all modern chains and such. Plus I don’t really like shopping. But there were some architectural aesthetics to the shopping promenades which I found appealing.


On the plus side, the fountains were very cool and well worth checking out. Each represented a different aspect of life and all the ones I saw were quite impressive:


The scenery around town is quite impressive, especially when viewed from afar. Taking a step back and checking out the skyline offers up some incredible vistas.


I had a great afternoon and evening in town. Much of that came from relaxing in the park and then a low-key evening out with more pretty views. More on that to come soon. I loved walking the streets and checking out some of the smaller shops, window shopping in art galleries or just enjoying the sunny afternoon and the relatively chill vibe of the town. The Einstein Home museum was closed for construction so that was a bit of a disappointment.

I don’t think I’d put it on my list of places to visit again and I’m especially suspect of the designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A couple more quick posts to come with more pictures as there is plenty of beauty to be found, but not all that great as a city, even with the capital in town.

Read more from this trip under the Sunny Suisse tag here.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. If you like arcades you would probably like Bologna in Italy (if you haven’t been there). The locals call it Planeta Portico (planet of the arcades). Also, it’s a great eating city (which couldn’t be said about any city in Switzerland that I’ve been in).
    They used to keep those bears in a bear pit in the middle of town. Their current digs look a lot more humane.

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